Love Without Limits (12)

This is a further translation of passages from Fr. Lev’s book of meditations on the mystery of divine and human Love. That book, unfortunately, has long been out of print, and the translation does little to reflect the poetic beauty of the original.

The Demands of Prevenient Grace

O Lord of Love, I beg you, don’t go so fast! I can’t keep up with you. You’re moving too quickly for me. Wait for me, let me catch up to you! Still, Lord, you have not stopped, you have not even slowed down.

Lord, I see you coming toward my house. Don’t trouble yourself to come to me; I’ll come as quickly as I can to you. We can talk along the way, and even stop for a while. That would be much less tiring for me (and I would feel much less bothered!). But there you are, already at my gate!

Lord, I’m too unworthy to receive you into my home. Yet you have already opened the front door; you are already crossing my threshold.

Lord, nothing is ready in my house, nothing is prepared within myself, so that I might welcome you! Yet already Love without limits has entered my front room, and He says to me, “Go take your place at the table; this evening I want to share a meal with you.”

The Friend of the Beloved

She moves without a sound, quickly and graciously, in the midst of life’s tumult. At times she breaks the silence, yet she always appears to be wrapped in silence. She lives in this world, yet she appears to dwell in a world of grace.

Her face is softly lit by an invisible Light, yet it enlightens all those who gaze upon her. With her strong yet tender hand she touches everything we touch. She sees what we see. She hears what we hear. Yet thereby she is never diminished, never lessened.

She binds up wounds. She serves at table. Her gestures are proper and precise. She stands among those who are seated. She stands also among those who lie down. Throughout the night her heart keeps watch over those who sleep.

She watches and she awakens. She awakens Love in those who are without love. She conveys Love to those upon whom she gazes, whom she touches with her gentle hand.

She drinks ceaselessly from the Source. She offers herself freely, with passionate attentiveness.

She is Love itself.

Deaf and Blind

O Lord of Love, I have asked you to open my heart before other people. Nevertheless, you make me realize that your servant also needs to be deaf and blind; seeing, but as if he could not see; hearing, but as if he could not hear.

Lord, make me deaf in the true sense. Close my ears to every accusation and every bit of mockery I hear thrown at others.

Lord, make me blind as well. Close my eyes to the weaknesses and failings of others. I know I should correct those who speak or act in a destructive way. But I have no right to judge or condemn those who speak and act. You alone, Lord, know their hearts. You know all things.

Him whom you sent did not want to look upon the adulterous woman, although others condemned her. He did not look at her even when they were alone. For as long as the accusations lasted, he bent over toward the ground. He was silent, and he wrote with his finger in the dust.

By this attitude he closed the mouths of her accusers. By this attitude he closed his own mouth, forever and eternally, to any and all accusations.

A Smile, A Gaze…

Love without limits employs the simplest means to establish contact between persons. Words are not needed. If they are pure and true, a smile or a gaze will suffice.

A smile, a gaze… Two means of infinite expression: a deep and silent expression of ourselves. Thereby a communion is created with those to whom we may never speak a word or whom we may never see again.

Whether or not you are known to me, I look at each of you attentively—you whom God has placed on my pathway. Silently, and in my presence, God makes of you living souls. He makes you present to me. In your eyes I behold your soul, just as my gaze conveys my soul to you.

We can, then, become immersed in other persons: “I am in you and you in me.” Between us there grows a living communion. Its heart, its ultimate fulfillment, is the Face of God, that Face we behold through the transparency of each other’s faces.

We smile at each other. That smile relaxes lips that previously were closed. It opens teeth that before were tightly clenched. A door has opened. Something has begun between us, something whose future we leave entirely in the hands of God.

You who have given me today a smile or a gaze that is both pure and true, and who have received from me a smile or gaze, pure and true (I stress these words, “pure and true”): I bless you in silence.

I pray to the Lord of Love that the wordless meeting of our souls will allow a brilliant light to illumine this day!